Republicans, Democrats, and Kim Davis

Kim Davis

What Do I Actually Believe? Part 2 of 3

A Facebook friend recently posted a link to this article by blogger Tiffany Willis, editor-in-chief of the website liberalamerica.org.

Ms. Willis lists 28 reasons why she’s done talking to most of her conservative friends and family members. Her reasons contain some of the greatest stereotypic misrepresentations of what most conservatives actually believe. Whether Willis is simply ignorant, or whether she’s deliberately creating straw-man arguments, perpetuating such ignorant caricatures is divisive and hateful. Willis comes across as a very angry, very intolerant, and very ignorant person.

As a libertarian-leaning, evangelical conservative, I’d like to go through each point of this rant to explain how what I actually believe is quite different from the caricature Willis paints of conservative views. While the views I express are mine alone, they are reasonably representative of what most of my conservative friends believe. Not every conservative will agree with every point, however. I hope that this will lead to better understanding of what many conservatives actually believe, and can lead to productive dialog rather than ignorant rants.

I addressed reasons 1-10 in a previous blog. In this blog, I will address reasons 11-20, and will cover reasons 21-28 at another time.

Here are the next 10, along with some of her comments, and my responses:

11. The Creation Museum — that is all.

You think this is OK. It’s not. These people just make stuff up. Do you really think kangaroos floated from Africa to Australia on rafts? Why are you condoning this ignorance?

I can only assume that “journalist” Matt Stopera is deliberately misrepresenting the Creation Museum in the article Willis links to as her sole argument against the Creation Museum. If he actually spent three hours reading the material in the exhibits, he knows his mocking comments are absolute gibberish. As a former employee at the Creation Museum, I find his nonsensical comments offensive and hateful. I can only assume Willis is either ignorant or just as hateful as Stopera. It’s ironic and hypocritical that she says, “these people just make stuff up,” when that’s precisely what she and Stopera do.

I also find it ironic and hypocritical that the vast majority of arguments I see from evolutionists against creation are mocking rants like this one, or simply saying, “evolution is fact,” without ever providing any actual scientific facts to support the claim. In most debates/arguments on creation vs. evolution, it’s the creationists that argue from the actual evidence, while evolutionists usually use arbitrary unsubstantiated claims, ad hominem attacks, straw-man arguments, and mocking as the basis of argument, while sidestepping all actual scientific discussion. For myself, it was the evidence-based scientific arguments from the creation side and the lack of any real evidence from the evolution side that convinced me that the Bible’s straight-forward account of origins makes more sense than evolution or some sort of mixture of the two.

I have many questions which the evolutionary doctrine simply cannot answer, but which the young-earth creation model provides very simple answers. Here are three of them:

  1. How did life arise from nonlife? Although this is technically not evolution, per se, but abiogenesis (sometimes chemical evolution), molecules-to-man evolution is dependent on non-living matter somehow becoming alive. Even if all the ingredients for life (DNA, RNA, “left-handed” amino acids, etc.) could somehow arise through non-living natural processes, and assemble themselves into the correct structures (ribosomes, mitochondria, lysosomes, and so forth), how would they become alive? Evolution has no answer.
  2. What about carbon dating? Carbon-14 has a half-life of only 5,730 years. After 5,730 years, 1/2 of the C14Decaycarbon-14 present when the organism was alive would be gone. After 11,460 years, 3/4 would be gone, and after 17,190 years, 7/8 would be gone. After about 50-60,000 years, there should be no detectable carbon-14 left in a fossil. Yet, nearly all fossils, including dinosaurs, contain carbon-14 in significant quantities. Coal and diamonds also contain carbon-14. The amounts of carbon-14 in most fossils date the fossils at only a few thousand years old, not the millions of years required for evolution. How can dinosaurs, coal, and diamonds be millions of years old when they still contain significant amounts of carbon-14? Evolution has no answer.
  3. What about the fossil record? Evolutionists usually portray the supposed common origin of all lifeforms as a sort of branching “tree,” with a single “root” in the ancient past, and “branches” representing different phyla, orders, species, etc.
    evolutiontreeHowever, this is not what the fossil record actually shows. The fossil record only shows the “tips” of the branches, more like a lawn or garden, not a single tree.
    orchard-family-tree
    If all life is descended from a common ancestor, why doesn’t the fossil record support this? Evolutionists have proposed a number of hypotheses, but don’t have any actual evidence to support any of them that I’ve seen.

These are just three of the numerous scientific problems I see with evolution. Again, it was scientific arguments like these that convinced me to abandon evolution in favor of creation.

If Willis wants thinking people to take her seriously, she needs to come up with a better argument than nonsensical misrepresentations of creation, while simultaneously claiming creationists are “ignorant.”

12. You’re liberal in youth, yet grow conservative in age.

I call this the Dead Peter Syndrome in men and/or the Formerly Hot Syndrome in women… many women who embraced the sexual revolution are now taking a stance against women’s rights and suggesting that I’m killing babies with my IUD. You don’t get to live it up as a young person and then try to take a moral high ground when you get old and aren’t interested in living anymore.

Willis actually makes a good point: People generally become more conservative as they get older. Even most of the older liberals I know are less liberal than when they were young.

Why do people become more conservative when they get older? It probably has a lot to do with getting wiser with age. Willis may call it the “Dead Peter Syndrome” or the “Formerly Hot Syndrome.” Conservatives call it “growing up.”

Willis also unintentionally points out another problem in the thinking of many liberals. She complains that it’s wrong to “live it up” when you’re young and liberal, then try to “take the moral high ground” when you’re old and conservative. She’s basically saying, “It’s not fair that you got away with crap when you were young, and now you won’t let others get away with crap.” For many liberals, life is all about “living it up.” “How much can I get away with, morally? Right and wrong are whatever I want them to be.” For conservatives, it’s a lot more about doing right, because it’s right. As people get older, most come to understand that morals exist for a reason. The “if it feels good, do it” philosophy eventually leaves one empty. Most people start to realize this when they get older, abandon relativistic morality, and grow more conservative, although some people never seem to get it. It isn’t that people who have become more conservative as they have gotten older “aren’t interested in living anymore.” It’s that they realize they weren’t really living a worthwhile life in the first place.

In my own case, the transformation from liberal to conservative happened between the ages of 18 and about 22. The change was triggered by my becoming a born-again Christian as a college freshman. At the age of 18, I voted against Reagan in the 1980 Presidential election, because I thought he was an extremist who was going to start WWIII. By the 1984 election (at age 22), I was a die-hard Reagan supporter. So much for growing conservative at an old age.

13. You don’t want people who disagree with you to vote.

Oh, Gerrymandering, you ugly devil, you. But do we question why this is so common and seldom questioned by people on the right? It’s because you, my conservative voter loved ones, agree with it. You think it’s perfectly acceptable (and necessary) to suppress the vote. It’s for the “good of the nation.”

I once heard someone tell his wife to not inform her Democratic friend how and where to vote. “She’ll cancel out your vote.”

The argument that, “I once heard someone say…,” is just plain lame. I “once heard someone say…,” a lot of stupid things. It’s irrelevant.

Gerrymandering is a two-way street. Liberals don’t mind it when they get to redraw the lines. California District 38, for example, was gerrymandered to create a Hispanic majority.

California_District_38_2004

Conservatives are more commonly accused of voter suppression because most want to require voters to have a valid identification to vote. Voter ID has nothing to do with suppressing legal voting; rather, it is to prevent voter fraud. People already need an ID to drive, get a job, get welfare or food stamps, to buy alcohol or cigarettes, and any number of other things. Since any legal voter can get a valid ID with very little cost or effort, claims of “voter suppression” are nothing more than propaganda.

I would generally support bi-partisan boards setting district boundaries, but all that would do is shift the problem from, “who gets to draw the districts?” to, “who gets to appoint the board?”

14. Some of your best friends are black. Or Mexican.

A conservative I know professes that “my best friend is black” and balked when I called him and his wife racist. Why did I call him racist? Because my little girl — at that time about 12 — went to a movie with one of her African American friends and his mother. The conservative and his wife were “very concerned” about me allowing my little girl to consort with “blacks.” But oh, no, they’re not racist, are they?

I don’t care how many black or Hispanic friends you have. If you think that mentality is OK, then yes, you’re racist.

Another, “I once heard someone say…,” argument. This is known as a hasty generalization fallacy or an anecdotal fallacy. It’s an irrelevant argument.

Willis is correct that racism is wrong. She just has an intolerant, ignorant way of expressing the point. No matter whether the racist is conservative or liberal, black or white, Christian or atheist, or anything else, racism is wrong. I’ve discussed my views on racism elsewhere, so I won’t repeat myself here.

15. You scream about undocumented immigrant children at the border, but you hire Mexicans to do your dirty work.

I live in Texas. Duh! Every single upper-middle-class or wealthy person I know has at one time hired cheap labor to do their menial tasks like home repairs, yard work, housekeeping, and childcare. They actually seek out Hispanic people because they know that they do good work and that they’ll work for cheap.

OK, yes, it’s hypocritical to hire illegal aliens while opposing illegal immigration. Both wealthy liberals and wealthy conservatives do it. What does that have to do with the debate over illegal immigration? This is a typical red-herring argument. It’s nothing but a distraction from the actual issue.

Here is my take on illegal immigration:

We already have laws on the books to allow legal immigration. All immigration must follow existing law. Is this such a difficult concept to grasp?

ImmigrationThe concept of “law-abiding, undocumented immigrant” is an oxymoron and misnomer. Immigrants who have entered the country illegally have already broken the law. They should be arrested and deported to their country of origin, because they broke the law. The matter of children born in the United States to illegal immigrants, or children born elsewhere who have lived and grown up in the U.S. since a young age, is problematic. If the parents hadn’t been permitted to enter the country illegally in the first place, in accordance with law, there wouldn’t be any dilemma.

Anyone who knowingly entered the United States illegally should be deported. Those who came here as children and have been here for the majority of their lives should be given temporary visas, and given the opportunity to follow existing law to become permanent residents and citizens. No person who has entered the country illegally should be eligible for public assistance. All income should be taxed the same as anyone else.

The United States needs to secure its borders. An electric fence with high-tech monitoring would help significantly, as would immediate arrest and deportation. Additionally, arresting and/or fining individuals and companies in accordance with the law who hire illegal workers would eliminate the incentive for illegal immigration.

If liberals feel the current laws are unjust and unfair, they need to work to have the law changed. Simply ignoring the law, then granting amnesty, is immoral and unethical. It’s not actually about children, race, or justice – it’s about growing the Democrat voter base. Hypocrites!

16. You insist on calling undocumented immigrants “illegals” and “aliens.”

They are human beings. They are undocumented immigrants. Many of them are children. It reallyyyyy makes me furious to see you deliberately depersonalizing these human beings who are doing nothing but seeking the American Dream that you are so proud of.

And you do this on purpose. You know what you’re doing. You’re proud of your very unethical and un-Christian attitude towards these human beings.

Let’s look at a few definitions, shall we? (all definitions quoted from dictionary.reference.com)

Illegal [ih-lee-guh l] adjective

  1. forbidden by law or statute.
  2. This is NOT what conservatives mean by "illegal alien."

    This is NOT what conservatives mean by “illegal alien,” despite what some liberals claim.

    contrary to or forbidden by official rules, regulations, etc.

alien [eyl-yuh n, ey-lee-uh n] noun

  1. a resident born in or belonging to another country who has not acquired citizenship by naturalization (distinguished from citizen ).
  2. a foreigner.
  3. a person who has been estranged or excluded.
  4. a creature from outer space; extraterrestrial.

undocumented [uhn-dok-yuh-men-tid] adjective

  1. lacking documentation or authentication.
  2. lacking proper immigration or working papers.

Immigrant [im-i-gruh nt] noun

  1. a person who migrates to another country, usually for permanent residence.
  2. an organism found in a new habitat.

These definitions speak volumes.

Conservatives see illegal aliens – people from a foreign country who have entered our country in violation of the law.

Liberals see undocumented immigrants – new, permanent residents who have simply forgotten to get paperwork.

Again, most conservatives have no problem with legal immigration, nor do we oppose changing laws to allow more people to legally immigrate. What we oppose is ignoring the law. The term “illegal alien” is neither dehumanizing nor unethical, any more than calling a person who steals a “thief” or a person who tells falsehood a “liar.” There’s nothing “un-Christian” about calling someone what they are. Jesus called law-breakers, “hypocrites,” “whitewashed tombs,” and “sons of Hell.” Conservatives call people from a foreign country who have entered our country in violation of the law “illegal aliens.”

Calling them “undocumented immigrants” is to devalue the rule of law and justice, which you claim to be so proud of. And you do this on purpose. You know what you’re doing. You’re proud of your very unethical and disdainful attitude towards the law.

17. You don’t mind using force against “lesser” groups to get what you want.

Case in point, protesting outside of abortion clinics.

Or protesting at the funerals of gay people. And yeah, I know that is Westboro Baptist Church and not you, but if you refuse to speak out against them, then you’re a part of the problem.

Frankly, you don’t seem to mind using force against “lesser” groups to get what you want.

Case in point, going inside of abortion clinics and getting abortions.

Or forcing Christian-owned businesses to bake cakes for gay weddings. Or subpoenaing sermons in Houston to intimidate preachers. Or not permitting children to read Bibles in class during “free reading” time. Or boycotting Chic-fil-A for supporting traditional marriage. And yeah, I know that is someone else and not you, but if you refuse to speak out against them, then you’re a part of the problem. By the way, Fred Phelps of Westboro Baptist Church was a life-long Democrat, and many conservatives have spoken out very strongly against him.

Oppression is always wrong. Disagreement and protesting do not equal oppression, however.

18. You love war, death, and destruction.

And why do you love war, death, and destruction? Because ‘Murica. Because you think this somehow makes us superior. We may be militarily superior, but we are ethically inferior.

Even when confronted with the lies, now confirmed officially, that got us into the Iraq war, you don’t care. You like for America to be the world’s largest terrorist organization and the world’s most formidable bully.

The claim, “You love war, death, and destruction,” is a baseless ad hominem attack. It was pretty much the same accusation as in #8, “You get excited about people dying.” The statement is just as stupid, offensive, and hateful when framed either way.

Conservatives abhor war, death, and destruction as much as liberals do. Unfortunately, many of our enemies do not. Terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS truly do love killing people – it’s part of their extremist religion. Unfortunately, the only way to keep them from killing us is to kill them first. Diplomacy and compromise won’t work with them any more than it worked with Nazi Germany.

As for the Iraq war, the following Senate Democrats voted for the Iraq War:

Bayh (D-IN)
Biden (D-DE)
Breaux (D-LA)
Cantwell (D-WA)
Carnahan (D-MO)
Carper (D-DE)
Cleland (D-GA)
Clinton (D-NY)
Daschle (D-SD)
Dodd (D-CT)
Dorgan (D-ND)
Edwards (D-NC)
Feinstein (D-CA)

Harkin (D-IA)
Hollings (D-SC)
Johnson (D-SD)
Kerry (D-MA)
Kohl (D-WI)
Landrieu (D-LA)
Lieberman (D-CT)
Lincoln (D-AR)
Miller (D-GA)
Nelson (D-FL)
Nelson (D-NE)
Reid (D-NV)
Rockefeller (D-WV)
Schumer (D-NY)
Torricelli (D-NJ)

(Obama had not yet been elected to the Senate).

I suppose that means all of these liberals also “love war, death, and destruction?”   And that they “like for America to be the world’s largest terrorist organization and the world’s most formidable bully?”

Willis makes the statement, “We may be militarily superior, but we are ethically inferior.” Many conservatives, myself included, believe the reason our country has become morally bankrupt is because we have rejected Biblical morality and instead adopted relativistic morality. Whatever people think is right is right, and whatever people think is wrong is wrong. There is no longer any objective basis for morality. If ethics and morality are relative, what basis does Willis have for saying one set of ethics is better than another? It’s just her opinion. What objective basis does she have for saying war, death, and destruction are absolutely wrong, if morality is relative? It is only because God established an absolute basis for ethics and morality that there is any objective basis for saying anything is ethical, other than simply expressing an opinion.

The rest of the comments made by Willis in her argument for this point are nothing more than more ad hominem attacks and drivel, and not worth the bandwidth it would take to refute.

19. Speaking of war, you think draft dodging is OK and military service is for the little people.

Why doesn’t it bother you that Dick Cheney et al are draft dodgers? Or that Mitt Romney has an entire baseball team of sons and not one of them served in the military?

Cheney received a legal deferment when he became a father. Federal law exempted a parent from military service due to “extreme hardship on dependents.”

Romney had very high draft number, meaning that although he was eligible for military service, his number was never called. He also received a legal religious deferment during the time he was doing Mormon missionary work.

Receiving a legal deferment and being a “draft dodger” were two entirely different things. One was legal, and the other was illegal. The draft ended In 1973, and the U.S. went to an all-volunteer military. Romney’s sons were never eligible to be drafted.

I’m not sure what “et al” Willis is referring to. Far more liberals supported draft dodging than conservatives did. Far more conservatives serve in the current all-volunteer military than liberals. Since the draft has been out of use for over 40 years, current support for draft dodging is a rather moot point in 2015. Nobody currently supports draft dodging, since there isn’t a draft.

20. You claim to care about the Constitution, but in reality you don’t.

Oh yes, you scream “CONSTITUTION” at the top of your lungs, but when idiotic Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) recently tried to strip the Constitution of the 5th and 6th Amendments, where were you? Where was your outrage?

You love the parts of the Constitution that please you personally — NOT the entire Constitution.

Yet another, “I once heard someone say…,” argument.

Willis cites one example of one conservative – Ted Cruz – who introduced a bill to revoke the citizenship and passport rights of any United States citizen who commits treason by joining a terrorist organization. You can read the bill here. Willis makes the outlandish claim that Cruz wants to deny Constitutional rights to traitors under the 5th and 6th Amendments. While I would agree that the Expatriate Terrorist Act (Senate Bill 247) needs to be amended to provide due process, to use it to claim that Cruz – and all conservatives – don’t really support the Constitution is ludicrous. To cite one example from one conservative to make a claim about most, if not all, conservatives is just plain stupid.

The Constitution of the United States was established as the foundational law of the land. Conservatives believe it needs to be interpreted as written, and as it was originally intended. Liberals believe it is a “living document” that can be interpreted and reinterpreted to suit their wants and needs. The reason they believe this is because they completely disagree with many of the Constitutions very straight-forward, conservative principles – and want to get rid of them.

Constitution

Items 21-28 of Willis’ list will be addressed in a future blog.

What Do I Actually Believe? Part 1 of 3

A Facebook friend recently posted a link to this article by blogger Tiffany Willis, editor-in-chief of the website liberalamerica.org.

I have seldom seen such a collection of ad hominem attacks and straw-man arguments crammed into a single rant. Misrepresenting the views of others in this manner simply to argue for your own view is fallacious and divisive. It leads to arguments rather than positive dialog. If Americans actually want to get along, we need to understand what others actually believe, rather than caricatures and misrepresentations.

As a libertarian-leaning, evangelical conservative, I’d like to go through each point of this rant to explain how what I actually believe is quite different from the caricature Willis paints of conservative views. While the views I express are mine alone, they are reasonably representative of what most of my conservative friends believe. Not every conservative will agree with every point, however. I hope that this will lead to better understanding of what many conservatives actually believe, and can lead to productive dialog rather than ignorant rants.

Ms. Willis lists 28 reasons why she’s done talking to most of her conservative friends and family members. Her list is more than I care to address in a single chunk, so here are the first 10, along with some of her comments, and my responses:

1. You support revisionist history.

When I was in a high school history class, I’ll never forget one thing our teacher taught us: what you read in history books isn’t always accurate. The example she used was history books in the Soviet Union, now known as Russia. She informed us, to my shock and horror, that the Soviets pretty much included what they liked in the history books and left out everything else. As a result, she said, there were generations of Russian students who were misinformed.

Oh we were dismayed, my classmates and I! Those poor little Russian kids who were being taught false history. But wait….you guys on the right are trying to do the same thing right here in the Good Old U.S.A.

I certainly do not support revisionist history. The evils of slavery, the treatment of Native Americans, and the civil rights movement all should be covered in history classes. However, so should the role of historyChristianity in the formation of the United States and the fact that it was mostly Democrats who supported slavery and opposed civil rights for Blacks. Revisionist history is a two-way street. Considering that the public education system in the United States is primarily run by far-left-leaning organizations such as the NEA would support that history is being revised to support liberal ideology far more than to support conservative ideology. The best way to teach history is to go back to source documents, then present both sides of the issues, rather than simply indoctrinating students with revisionist malarkey.

2. You cite Jesus as your reasoning for rejecting marriage equality.

Yet the Bible only mentions homosexuality six times. Six. Times. 6. This many:

SixFingers

So why is this one of the biggest issues on your agenda? Why are you putting so much energy and hate into an issue that clearly wasn’t one of God’s major concerns?

As Christians who are pro-family, why would you deny people the right to the sanctity of marriage? If marriage strengthens families, why would you not want everyone to have this, even if you disagree with their choice of mate?

YOU (we) have destroyed the sanctity of marriage. There is no possible way that gay marriage can do more harm to marriage than heterosexuals have done. Yet we seldom hear a sermon bemoaning the divorce rate or people living together before marriage. Why is that? Because the pews would be empty.

First, the number of times the Bible mentions something is irrelevant. The Bible’s teaching on the subject is very clear: practicing homosexuality is sin.

Second, the main reason gay marriage is so high on the list of discussion topics for conservative Christians is because it’s so high on the list of discussion topics for others. The issue is being forced on Christians, so Christians are responding.

Third, disagreeing with homosexuality and calling it sin is not “hate.” The term “hate” is so misused today that it has become almost meaningless. Disagreement and opposition do not equal hate. I want people to understand that homosexuality is sin because I want them to turn from sin and be saved. I don’t want people to go to Hell. Wanting people to come to know Jesus is not hate. True, some professing Christians hate gays. However, doing so is completely inconsistent with clear Biblical teaching.

Fourth, it is precisely the sanctity of marriage we are defending. Marriage is between one man and one woman, not because we say it is, but because that’s how God clearly defined it. Biblically speaking, gay marriage doesn’t exist. Calling a gay relationship a marriage doesn’t make it a marriage, any more than calling a cat a dog makes it a dog.

Fifth, I mostly agree with her last point: Divorce and adultery have destroyed the sanctity of marriage. It is precisely because most of the church has compromised on divorce and adultery that homosexuality and other perversions are being accepted by people who profess to be Christian. It is the abandonment of Biblical values that is eroding morality in American culture.

3. You use Biblical scripture to excuse yourself from feeding the hungry.

There is nothing you do that makes me more disgusted with you than your abuse and misuse of 2 Thessalonians 3:10.

For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, If any will not work, neither let him eat. 2 Thessalonians 3:10

You are deliberately taking the scripture — ONE VERSE! — out of context when you use them to justify your own hatred of poor people. And again, you’re showing your ignorance.

First – there are many passages that talk about working and laziness, not just one. The book of Proverbs is loaded with them. The argument that 2 Thessalonians 3:10 is only referring to Christians who stopped working in anticipation of Christ’s return is not supported by the text. Don’t take my word for it; look it up for yourself in context.

Second – the passages of scripture that discuss helping the poor and disabled are always directed at the church or individuals – NEVER the secular government. Using the Bible out-of-context to try to support government entitlement programs is a misrepresentation of God’s Word. In the United States, Christians have always led the way when it comes to helping the poor. There are numerous Christian-based food pantries, food lines, education centers, hospitals, and support groups for the needy. I’m only aware of a handful from atheists and other religions.

Third, nobody I know, conservative or otherwise, is opposed to helping the truly needy. The issue is identifying who is truly needy, and how to help them. Many liberals seem to think most people are needy, and believe the best way to help them is for the government to give them stuff. Conservative tend to believe that we need to help the most needy – the elderly, the disabled, and orphans, for example. There are others who are physically able to work, but don’t have jobs. The government should support the truly needy, with the assistance of the private sector. The government needs to work with the private sector to grow the economy in order to provide jobs to the able-bodied, not long-term handouts. Give the unemployed temporary assistance until they can get jobs, absolutely! But also, help the private sector – especially small businesses – create well-paying jobs. Private-sector jobs are by far the best way to end poverty!

Last, statistics show that there have always been far more Christian charities helping the hungry than non-Christian charities. Don’t insult me by telling me I don’t care about feeding the hungry. You don’t know what you’re talking about. My Eagle Scout service project was to organize a food drive to restock a small food pantry. My church supports a food pantry around the corner from the church building. When I was unemployed, people from my church brought us food. Claiming that conservative Christians don’t care about the hungry is ignorant.

worldvision

4. You lie when you say you value “freedom of religion.”

I had lunch with some conservatives a while back, and the topic of freedom of religion came up. They expressed concern at the “war on Christianity.” I cited a recent event that had occurred in which protesters interrupted the U.S. Senate’s first Hindu-led prayer. The response from my fellow diners? “Good.” I don’t know how educated people can be so ignorant. Seriously. You can’t even see your own contradictions.

While I would agree that there are some conservatives that only value freedom of religion for Christianity, most of us support freedom for all religions.

firstamendmentPlease don’t misunderstand – I am certainly not arguing that all religions are equally true. Jesus said, ““I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” I believe that the only true religion is a relationship with God through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. All other religions, philosophies, and worldviews lead to Hell. What I am saying is that while I believe most religion is in error, I will defend a person’s right to believe what they wish under the Constitution of the United States. Religious freedom is a sort of two-way street. If the government can impede the free exercise of religions I find abhorrent, there is nothing to prevent government from impeding the free exercise of Biblical Christianity. In the United States, if someone wants to be Muslim, or Mormon, or worship a sacred rock, or claim they worship nothing at all, it should be their right to worship, either publicly or privately, as they see fit, as long as those beliefs and practices don’t harm someone else.

And, seriously, I don’t understand how an educated person like Willis can’t see her own contradictions, either.

5. You claim God speaks to you and tells you to do things.

Over and over and over, we see right wing nutjobs in the news saying they’re doing this horrible thing or that horrible thing because God told them to…But conservatives believe these nuts. Here is what I think: not only should sensible conservatives not believe these nuts, you need to start speaking out against them. These are the false prophets that the Bible warns us about, in my humble opinion. Most of you lack the courage to take a stand against these idiots even when you know they’re nuts.

First, religious “nutjobs” are certainly not all conservatives. How many crazies do things to protect their “Mother Earth?” Recently, when Craig Stephen Hicks gunned down 3 Muslims in a dispute over a parking spot, the liberal media was quick to condemn him as a religious conservative nutjob – until it was revealed that he’s actually a liberal militant atheist. Suddenly, the liberal media isn’t talking about the incident at all.

While I do believe God speaks to His followers through the Holy Spirit, Christians are instructed to “test the spirits” to determine if it is actually God speaking, or a demonic voice. The voice of God will never contradict the clear teaching of Scripture.

I agree with Willis on this point: the Bible clearly warns of false prophets. However, Willis seems to have no clue what makes a person a “false prophet.” I believe that anyone teaching anything that contradicts the clear teaching of westborothe Bible is a false prophet. This would include all non-Christian religious teachers, as well as “Christian” teachers that deny any part of the Bible as anything other than the inspired Word of God. I also agree with Willis of this point: “Most of you lack the courage to take a stand against these idiots even when you know they’re nuts.” Far too many people, from all ideologies, refuse to speak out against evil. The liberal media was quick to denounce Hicks for murdering Muslims, until they found out he’s a liberal atheist. Many Christians won’t take a stand against other Christians, and those that do are usually severely criticized for being “divisive.” For example, most conservatives vehemently oppose the likes of Westboro Baptist Church and Pastor Steven Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, AZ. However, many are also slow to publicly condemn them, and when they do, the liberal media tends to ignore it.

Most conservative Christians do not claim they do things because they heard voices telling them to do so. We base our beliefs on the written Bible. It’s the liberals who tend to base their beliefs on whatever passing fancy is in vogue at the time, on the “voices” of popular opinion.

6. You question my faith.

“Christian Left is an oxymoron.”

Oh my, I’ve heard that so much from the right, and believe it or not, I often hear it from my “friends.” First of all, your questioning of my faith genuinely means very little to me. What it does is destroy my opinion of you; I now view you as self-righteous hypocrites… Keep questioning my faith, though, my people, because you can be sure I’m questioning yours. One thing I won’t do, however, is accuse you of not being a believer as you do me. What I will suggest to you is that my faith may be stronger than yours. I’ve educated myself, dared to question all things, and STILL believe. Most of you are too afraid to even learn. It may, after all, test your faith.

Do I question people’s faith? Sure, I do. I know that it doesn’t matter how much faith a person has, if that faith is placed in anything other than Jesus Christ. I know that people will burn in Hell for eternity, unless they place their way_truth_lifefaith in Jesus Christ. Jesus said that no one comes to God except through Him (John 14:6). The Bible says we will know people’s faith by their fruit. If a person truly has a relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ, their words and actions will begin to mirror the teaching of Scripture. If a person’s words and actions continue to contradict the clear teaching of the Bible, it is completely appropriate to question their salvation.

I find it interesting that Willis denounces people who question her faith as self-righteous hypocrites, yet then states, “Keep questioning my faith, though, my people, because you can be sure I’m questioning yours.” Doesn’t that make her a self-righteous hypocrite as well?

Willis then states that her faith is stronger than a conservative’s faith because she’s educated herself and questioned her beliefs. She claims conservatives are “afraid to even learn.” This is nothing more than a baseless ad hominem attack. I have news for Willis: Conservative evangelical Christians are just as willing to study and learn as she is; we question our beliefs, and grow as we learn. It is because I questioned my beliefs that I became a follower of Jesus Christ in the first place. It is because I studied the Bible that I came to believe it is the inspired Word of God. It is because I continue to examine myself daily that I continue to grow in my relationship with God and in my understanding and beliefs. Those of you who have been following this blog since I began it three years ago have probably noticed changes in the types of things I write about, and subtle shifts in ideology. That’s due to growth.

For Willis to claim that only liberals question themselves, educate themselves, and grow in faith is nonsense. For her to accuse conservatives of hypocrisy for questioning her faith, while she questions the faith of conservatives, is self-righteous hypocrisy. The fact that we find your beliefs to be false doesn’t mean we’re uneducated or afraid to learn. It means we have different beliefs and have come to different conclusions.

So, yes, I question her faith. I question everyone’s faith. Not everyone who claims to be a Christian will enter Heaven. Unfortunately, many will hear Jesus say, “I never knew you.” I even question my own beliefs on a regular basis. I no longer question my belief in Jesus as Savior, because I’ve had it confirmed repeatedly. But, I do question my beliefs on specific issues, and regularly adjust my thinking to conform more closely with Biblical teaching.

7. You care more about your guns than you do about children.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, and following other similar tragedies, I asked many of you if you loved your guns more than you do children. I made the statement of “I’d give up my gun forever if it would bring back even one of those children.” I asked you if you’d do the same. You admitted that you would not.

This is an absolutely ridiculous claim. First of all, it’s an example of the fallacy of the false dilemma. The argument is framed as either A) you love guns, or B) you love children. In reality, this isn’t an either/or issue. Supporting gun rights has nothing to do with loving children. There are some very good arguments that support the position that armed-teachersarming teachers would actually prevent tragedies such as Sandy Hook.

This argument is also little more than an appeal to emotions. Willis gives no facts to support her position; rather, she appeals to the emotions of her readers: “It’s for the children.” How can anyone oppose children?

Lastly, the question, “if giving up guns could bring back even one of the Sandy Hook children, would you do it,” is purely hypothetical. It’s also an example of a complex question fallacy. If the person answers yes, they support gun restrictions. If they answer no, they hate children. In reality, there is no way to bring back a dead child. The question is not based in reality. It’s a carefully constructed fallacious question for which there is no correct answer. It’s a lot like asking, “Do you still hate your mother.” Answer yes, you admit you once hated your mother. Answer no, you admit you still hate your mother. It leaves no room for the fact that you never hated your mother. The question Willis asks leaves no option for the perfectly rational belief that widespread gun ownership actually prevents gun violence. Passing laws making it more difficult for law-abiding citizens to own guns will do nothing to keep criminals from getting guns illegally, since criminals generally don’t follow laws in the first place.

8. You get excited about people dying.

You really, really like to see death. And not just to terrorists. You love the death penalty. You love war. You love seeing kids like Trayvon Martin being shot. They deserve it, you say. But his murderer has shown — again and again — since his acquittal that he is a dangerous person.

Wow. How do I even respond to such a stupid, ignorant, hateful statement?

Willis is incredibly hypocritical for calling conservatives out for supporting the death penalty and war, while she herself supports abortion, which has killed far more people than all of the wars and death penalty executions combined.

Conservatives hate death just as much as liberals do. We hate wars, murder, and abortion. The main difference between liberals and conservatives on the issues of war and the death penalty is that we see them as sometimes being necessary evils. War is, unfortunately, sometimes necessary to stop evil people from doing evil. Imagine what might have happened differently if military action had been taken against Hitler in 1935, when Hitler ignored the Versailles Treaty and ordered Germany to re-arm? Or, if the United States had gotten involved in World War II against Germany in 1939, rather than waiting until after the 1941 bombing of Pearl Harbor? Would ISIS be a serious threat today in the Middle East and elsewhere if Obama had kept American troops in Iraq instead of pulling them when he did?

The Bible teaches that humans were created in the image of God. All human life is sacred. Death is the penalty for sin, and we all have sinned. We all die. The only questions are when we will die, where we will die, how we will die, and where we go afterward. As a Christian, I oppose abortion, war, and murder. Although I hate war, I understand that it is sometimes necessary in a fallen world. Although I hate death, I see the death penalty as just punishment for committing murder. We don’t like the death penalty, but see it as regrettably necessary for justice.

No, we don’t like seeing kids like Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown being shot. However, we also don’t immediately assume they were the victims because of their ethnicity. We don’t immediately jump to the conclusion the shootings were racially motivated. We wait to see what the facts turn out to be, and if the facts warrant it, fully support the prosecution and conviction of the assailants in a court of law. In the cases of both Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, the conflicting evidence made determining innocence or guilt extremely difficult. I personally believe that both Martin and George Zimmerman made mistakes that led to Martin’s death. I agree with Willis in that Zimmerman has since been shown to be a danger to society, and in retrospect, there is good reason to believe he was probably the aggressor. However, the evidence wasn’t strong enough to warrant a conviction at the time. In the case of Michael Brown and officer Darren Wilson, again, both parties made serious mistakes that led to Brown’s death. Brown was a thug who had just robbed a store and attacked a police officer. Wilson was an incompetent officer who allowed himself to be put in a dangerous situation, and then panicked.

The claim that conservatives “get excited about people dying” is a baseless ad hominem attack. It is a complete misrepresentation of conservative beliefs. It is a hateful smear, and reprehensible.

9. You assume that everyone who needs help are losers and parasites who refuse to work.

Approximately 47 million people receive food stamps, and most of them are children or the elderly, in addition to people who are employed. The numbers, from a 2012 USDA report:

  • 45 percent of SNAP recipients are under 18 years of age

  • Nine percent are age 60 or older

  • More than 40 percent live in households with earnings

Again, this is a baseless ad hominem attack. Willis makes a claim, and offers no evidence whatsoever that it is true. Her entire argument on this point is to quote statistics about food stamp recipients.

As I stated in point #2 above, many needy people are truly needy. Very few conservatives are opposed to helping the disabled, the elderly, or orphans. We also recognize that many able-bodied, hard-working Americans need temporary assistance while looking for work. What we are opposed to is institutionalized long-term handouts to people who can and should be working.

While the statistics Willis quotes are true, they don’t really support her claim that conservatives assume anything.

Food-Stamps-YearlyIn fact, what most conservatives believe is that liberalism is one of the primary causes of poverty in America. An important statistic Willis leaves out of her discussion is the fact that the number of SNAP recipients has nearly doubled under the Obama administration. Conservatives generally do not oppose SNAP or other assistance programs; rather, we oppose the liberal economic policies that have made more widespread assistance a necessity. The decline in unemployment is not due to more people having jobs; it is due to people giving up on finding work. Annual median household income has dropped every year under Obama, according to the US Census Bureau, to a level not seen since 1995, and workforce participation rates have dropped to their lowest levels since the late 1970s. Conservatives, including myself, believe that liberal policies are the reason for these statistics.

Workforce ParticipationI believe that liberal politicians have an economic policy that is designed to deliberately force more middle-class citizens into poverty, while blaming the Republicans. As more people become impoverished, liberals then give them handouts, and take credit for helping the very people their policies hurt in the first place. The end result is more people voting for Democratic candidates, because they have been duped into believing liberal politicians actually care about them. I do NOT believe that everyday liberal citizens believe this is right. I don’t even think they have any idea how liberal economic policies actually work, and if they did, they’d be appalled. And, honestly, I don’t think the Republicans are much better.

I was unemployed for the end of 2012 and most of 2013. Although I was grateful for the government assistance I received during my unemployment, I would much rather have had a job. I blame the Obama administration’s economic policies for making it so difficult to find another job. After 10 months of unemployment, I was forced to take a position in a different industry and occupation than I had previously worked, with a 39% drop in income from my previous job. Again, I blame liberal economic policies for stifling small business growth, which has decreased the number of available jobs, and dropped hourly wages.

Along with most conservatives, I fully support long-term government assistance for the truly needy, as well as temporary assistance for able-bodied workers who can’t find a job. We oppose policies that make it more difficult for small businesses to grow and create more jobs, as well as policies that encourage multi-generational poverty and government dependence for people who can work, but won’t. We do NOT assume all people on assistance are lazy parasites – but, some are, and they need to be encouraged to work their way out of poverty, not given handouts to gain votes.

10. You weren’t concerned about uninsured people– including me.

… I didn’t want a free ride. I was eager to pay for my own insurance. Obamacare opened that door for me and millions of other hard-working Americans and disallows insurance companies from rejecting millions of Americans who were previously rejected. But without even knowing fully what the Affordable Care Act is, you chose the path of ignorance. You didn’t care.

Again, this is a complete misrepresentation of what most conservatives believe. We believe health insurance should be made affordable for all Americans. We also believe Obamacare is an asinine way to accomplish this.

While Obamacare has made health insurance more affordable for the poor and self-employed, costs have skyrocketed for the working middle-class. Mine have gone up significantly. The plan I was on last year was eliminated by my employed, and I was forced onto a plan with much higher deductibles and premiums.

Most conservatives understand that Obamacare has little to do with health insurance, but rather is a scheme to redistribute wealth from the middle and upper classes to the poor.

Two of the main forces driving up medical costs are malpractice insurance and drug costs. Many conservatives, including myself, believe the way to make health care more affordable to everyone, including the poor, would be to limit malpractice lawsuits, and limit patents to drug companies. Obamacare does neither of these, and in fact has driven both costs up even further. Eliminating frivolous malpractice lawsuits and multi-million-dollar payouts would drive down malpractice insurance costs, and limiting drug patents would open drug manufacturing up to competition, driving down costs.

As for opposing Obamacare before we even knew what is was, it was Nancy Pelosi who famously declared, “we have to pass the bill so you can find out what is in it.”

It isn’t that conservatives aren’t concerned about the uninsured – we are. We just believe Obamacare is a stupid way of dealing with the issue.

 

Items 11-20 and 21-28 of Willis’ list will be addressed in future blogs.

Lessons from the Phil Robertson / A&E Controversy – Part 2

phil robertson

Phil Robertson

A few days ago, I posted a blog about some lessons I’d taken away from the controversy surrounding Phil Robertson’s suspension from Duck Dynasty by A&E. As events have continued to unfold, I have read numerous comments and articles by people from all perspectives about Phil’s comments, A&E’s response, the outpouring of support, and the outrage of people opposed to Phil. While I’m happy, happy, happy that A&E has decided to reinstate Phil, I do not think this is the end of the issue. There are much bigger issues at stake than whether a rich redneck Christian gets to stay on TV. Some additional thoughts:

Christians should pay as much attention to other sins as they do to homosexuality

One of my more liberal Facebook friends linked to this article by Rachel Held Evans. Although I don’t know anything about Evans, and I don’t agree with everything she says, she makes a number of valid points. Conservative Christians tend to focus on the “big” sins like homosexuality and abortion, but say little about “little” sins such as gluttony, greed, gossip, or divorce. Evans wrote:

While there are certainly important hermeneutical and cultural issues at play, I can’t help but wonder if something more nefarious is also at work.  I can’t help but wonder if biblical condemnation is often a numbers game.

Though it affects more of us than we tend to realize, statistically, homosexuality affects far fewer of us than gluttony, materialism, or divorce. And as Jesus pointed out so often in his ministry, we like to focus on the biblical violations (real or perceived) of the minority rather than our own.

In short, we like to gang up.  We like to fashion weapons out of the verses that affect us the least and then “clobber” the minority with them. Or better yet, conjure up some saccharine language about speaking the truth in love before breaking out our spec-removing tweezers to help get our minds off of these uncomfortable logs in our own eyes.

Here’s the point: Don’t judge others just because they sin differently from you. We all sin, we all fall short of the glory of God. The sin of homosexuality is no more offensive to God than the sins of gossip, gluttony, or pride. All sin offends God. All sin condemns us to death. And all sinners need to receive forgiveness through the blood of Jesus Christ. Rather than focusing on a person’s homosexuality, perhaps we should focus on sharing the good news that all sin can be forgiven through a relationship with Jesus Christ. Perhaps we need to work a bit harder at removing the log from our own eyes before trying to remove the speck of homosexuality from someone else’s eye.

How we speak the truth is important.

One of the biggest criticisms of Phil Robertson’s interview with GQ is how he said what he said. Phil used some rather crass language to describe homosexual acts. He is quoted (out of context) as saying blacks were happy during the pre-civil rights era. The liberal media, gay rights advocates, and race-baiters jumped all over him. Never mind that Robertson was factually correct. The problem was the way he said what he said.

I’m sure that most of the blacks Phil picked cotton next to were basically happy people. This doesn’t mean Robertson supported Jim Crow laws, or that blacks were happier before the civil rights era than they are now. It just means that, from Phil’s perspective as a poor white man working next to poor blacks, they were basically happy people, in spite of their circumstances. (Yes, believe it or not, people can actually be happy, despite bad circumstances.) Since Phil’s comments were printed out of context in a side bar, we don’t know what question he was responding to. Neither do we know if his comments were edited, making them appear worse than they really were. However, if Phil had chosen his words more precisely, the controversy over them would not exist.

Phil is also correct that the Bible clearly defines homosexuality as sin. Any time a Christian points out sin, someone will be offended. However, by using vulgar language to describe homosexual acts, and by not choosing his words more carefully, he unnecessarily gave people looking for an excuse to be offended exactly what they were looking for.

Telling someone they are wrong does not mean we hate them.

There’s a meme floating through cyberspace with a quote attributed to Phil Robertson (although it’s actually by Rick Warren):

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.”

Rick Warren QuoteFrom a Biblical perspective, all sin leads to death and Hell, whether it’s the sin of homosexuality, or some other sin. It’s not loving to know someone is headed for an eternity in Hell, and not tell them why they are headed there and how to spend eternity in Heaven instead. Sin is self-destructive. If we were talking about other self-destructive behaviors, such as substance abuse, nearly everyone would recognize that the loving thing to do would be to confront the individual about the behavior, and help them find a way to beat the addiction. Substance abuse destroys the temporary body, but sin destroys the eternal soul. The loving thing to do is to do whatever we can to help people realize their sin, to repent, and receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior.

The flip side, however, is that some so-called Christians do hate homosexuals. There are those who misuse and distort the Bible to attack those they hate. Groups like Westboro Baptist Church ignore most of the Bible and distort the meaning of other passages in order to justify their self-righteous bigotry and hatred. Lumping all Christians together with Westboro Baptist “Christians” is a logical fallacy. Fred Phelps no more speaks for all Christians than Jeremiah Wright speaks for all blacks or Dan Savage speaks for all homosexuals.

Christians are called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and with meekness and fear (1 Peter 3:15). Yes, the truth is offensive to those who do not want to hear it. But, if Christians truly love their neighbor as the love themselves, we will speak the truth in love, meekness, and fear, whether people get offended, or not.

Am I more interested in speaking the truth, or in extending grace?

Something I struggle with is pride. Sometimes, I’m more interested in winning a debate than in being used by the Holy Spirit to win souls for Jesus Christ. Sometimes, I pridefully think my logical arguments and insight will bring people to Jesus, rather than the Holy Spirit drawing people to Himself. I am a skeptic by nature, and am often more interested in arguing the facts than in extending God’s grace.

For this, I ask for forgiveness.

Grace without truth leads to false religion. Truth without Grace turns people off or turns them into legalists. Jesus, however, came in grace and truth (John 1:14). I’m beginning to realize, despite being a thick-headed sinner, that I need to focus more on extending God’s grace to sinners than in convincing people they’re wrong.

Final thoughts

Here’s another meme I found on Facebook – source unknown:

May each of us who calls ourselves followers of Jesus Christ share the truth with non-believers, in love, meekness, and fear.

Lessons from the Phil Robertson / A&E Controversy

philUnless you’ve been living under a rock the last few days, you’ve probably heard about the “indefinite suspension” of Phil Robertson from A&E’s “Duck Dynasty” television show over comments he made about homosexuals in an interview with GQ Magazine. Duck Dynasty supporters flooded social media sites with calls to boycott A&E. Cracker Barrel Restaurants began removing Duck Dynasty merchandise from its shelves, then reversed their decision following backlash from Duck Dynasty supporters. The saga continues as I write this.

Regardless of what Christians think about Duck Dynasty or Phil Robertson’s suspension, there are several things we can learn from the incident.

Christians should expect opposition when they stand up for Biblical Christianity.

“If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me.”

John 15:18-21

It really should come as no surprise that when a highly visible Christian publicly stands up for his or her faith in Jesus Christ, and takes a stand on Biblical values, that they will face intense opposition. Those who hate God also hate anyone who publicly proclaims the Gospel. They will watch for Christians to slip up, then pounce at the opportunity to attack. Phil Robertson is a godly man who takes God’s Word seriously, and is unashamed to bluntly speak his mind about his beliefs. Although his comments in the GQ article were rather crudely stated, they were based on his belief in the Bible. The truth is offensive to those who oppose it. Christians have been persecuted for their faith since Biblical times, and are increasingly persecuted today. This is precisely what Jesus told us would happen.

Christians should speak the truth despite opposition

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Matthew 5:10-12

When Christians proclaim God’s Word despite opposition, they are blessed by God. This does not necessarily mean they will be rewarded with material blessings in this life, however. As Christians, we understand that many – if not most – of God’s blessings will ultimately be received in Heaven. As Peter wrote:

But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you are blessed. “And do not be afraid of their threats, nor be troubled.” But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

1 Peter 3:14-16

Phil Robertson is a self-proclaimed redneck. He lacks the background and knowledge to make eloquent theological statements or carefully devised arguments. However, he does not let this prevent him from proclaiming the Gospel. His redneck language is sometimes a bit crass, but Phil is sold out for Jesus, and shares the Gospel to the best of his ability at every opportunity. And, he knows his Bible, quoting or paraphrasing to answer those who ask about his faith. This is exactly what all Christians are called to do.

Those who speak of “tolerance” are often the most intolerant of all.

It strikes me as sadly ironic that those who demand tolerance of their views are often the least tolerant of opposing views. According to the Oxford Dictionary, to tolerate means to “allow the existence, occurrence, or practice of (something that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference.” Much of the LGBT community actively demands tolerance for their views and acceptance of their lifestyle, yet vehemently opposes anyone who disagrees with them. Christians are expected to tolerate homosexuality; yet, our belief – based on the clear teaching of the Bible – that homosexuality is sin cannot be tolerated. Disagreement is labeled “hateful,” and Christians are hated because they are alleged to be “haters.” The hypocrisy of those who preach “tolerance” is appalling, although Christians shouldn’t be surprised. Those who oppose God cannot have a logically consistent worldview, because their foundational beliefs do no correspond with reality.

Taking a stand for righteousness can make a difference in this world

crackerbarrelOne interesting side story revolves around Cracker Barrel restaurants. Shortly after A&E announced that Phil Robertson had been kicked off of Duck Dynasty, Cracker Barrel began removing Duck Dynasty merchandise from their stores. The backlash from Christians supporting Duck Dynasty was immediate and overwhelming. As a result, Cracker Barrel reversed their position, apologized, and restocked Duck Dynasty products, citing the letters, emails, and comments on social media as the reason. When Christians unite, we can make a difference. However, we also need to keep in mind that the battle is God’s, not ours, and that we need to focus on leading people to Christ, not on temporary issues like a television show. Christians need to have the same passion for sharing Jesus and defending the Gospel as we did for defending Phil Robertson. It is only by changing individuals’ hearts that we can turn the culture back to God.

The Irrationality of the Modern Concept of Intolerance

One of the most overused buzzwords today is the word intolerant. Anyone who opposes abortion, gay marriage, illegal immigration, embryonic stem cell research, or government controlled health care as intolerant and a bigot. During an interview with Baptist Press, Chick-fil-A president and COO Dan Cathy was asked about the Chick-fil-A’s support of the traditional family. He responded,

“Well, guilty as charged…We are very much supportive of the family—the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that. We operate as a family business … our restaurants are typically led by families; some are single. We want to do anything we possibly can to strengthen families. We are very much committed to that.”

Cathy’s comments sparked intense media frenzy. Cathy was labeled an intolerant, anti-gay, homophobic bigot. Chick-fil-A restaurants were picketed by opponents, and proponents flocked to show their support.

Christians who take a stand against any belief or practice that is opposed to Biblical teaching are labeled intolerant. It is intolerant to say homosexuality is a sin; it is intolerant to call abortion murder; it is intolerant to suggest that men and women should have different roles; it is intolerant to claim that non-Christians will go to Hell.

Is Christianity intolerant? Does the Bible teach intolerance? What does it mean to be intolerant?

What intolerance means

According Dictionary.com, the word intolerance means:

  1. lack of toleration; unwillingness or refusal to tolerate or respect contrary opinions or beliefs, persons of different races or backgrounds, etc.

The word tolerate means:

  1. to allow the existence, presence, practice, or act of without prohibition or hindrance; permit.
  2. to endure without repugnance; put up with.

In other words, the traditional meaning of intolerance is an unwillingness to allow or put up with things with which one disagrees. It involves prohibiting or hindering practices that one finds offensive or disagreeable. Under this traditional understanding of tolerance, a person cannot tolerate something with which they agree; to tolerate means to disagree, but to permit in spite of disagreement.

In modern American politically correct thinking, however, there has been a subtle shift in this meaning. Intolerance now means to oppose any belief or practice. If a person thinks any practice or belief is wrong or immoral, they are now labeled intolerant. Note the subtle difference. Intolerance used to mean prohibiting or hindering beliefs and practices one disagrees with. Now, it means to simply disagree. If a Christian merely believes abortion is a sin, they are now labeled intolerant. If one merely suggests that same-gender marriage is wrong, they are now intolerant bigots. The meaning has shifted from prohibiting that with which one disagrees to merely disagreeing.

Where does this new concept of intolerance come from?

This new concept of intolerance as merely believing an idea or practice is wrong is firmly rooted in the philosophy of relativism. According to Dictionary.com, relativism is “any theory holding that criteria of judgment are relative, varying with individuals and their environments.” In other words, what’s true for you may not be true for me; there is no absolute truth. Relativism is a core belief in humanism, liberalism, and postmodernism. It’s the foundation of American political correctness, and, unfortunately, many Christians have been seduced by this philosophy as well.

In any worldview based in relativism, it is meaningless to say something is absolutely wrong. Right and wrong are entirely determined by circumstances, culture, and personal beliefs. For a relativist, the statement, “You should not do X because it is wrong,” is nonsense. A practice may be wrong for some people in certain circumstances, but since truth is relative, and absolutes do not exist, one cannot claim a practice is always wrong, or wrong for anyone but themselves.

When the Bible states that adultery is wrong, this teaching is inconceivable to a relativist. There are no absolutes, so claiming adultery is wrong is nonsense. It’s like saying blue is wrong, or vanilla ice cream is wrong. Right and wrong are totally determined by the preferences of the individual, depending on the circumstances.

There are several problems with relativism. First, the concept is self-contradictory. According to relativism, absolute truth does not exist. However, this belief is held as absolute truth! If absolute right and wrong do not exist, then anyone who believes is absolute right and wrong is wrong. But, since wrong does not exist, they cannot be wrong. The relativist absolutely believes that absolutes do not exist! On this basis alone, relativism should be rejected – it’s a logical impossibility.

Living with an irrational worldview

When one actually tries to put a relativistic worldview into practice, the irrationality becomes even more pronounced. Since relativism posits that absolute right and wrong do not exist, it would be illogical to say murder, rape, child abuse, or assault are absolutely wrong. Yet, in practice, almost all relativists would say they are absolutely wrong. How do they get around this paradox? Most would state that a practice is immoral only if it harms someone else. So, in practice, there are absolutes; it is absolutely immoral to harm others. The philosophy of relativism completely unravels when put into practice. Yet, most people who hold to this view don’t understand the irrationality of their beliefs.

Let’s take it a step further. Since absolute right and wrong do not exist (except, of course, that we cannot harm others), the concept of sin is inconceivable. When a Christian says that abortion is sin, the relativist is forced to conclude that the Christian is wrong in his belief. But, this is a contradiction – right and wrong don’t exist for the relativist!

This brings us back to the concept of intolerance. For the relativist, any claim that an idea or practice is wrong is intolerant. Right and wrong don’t exist, so when the Bible calls certain practices sin, it completely contradicts the very foundation of the relativist’s worldview.

When applied to the gay marriage issue, when a Christian says gay marriage is wrong, the relativist is forced into the illogical conclusion that the Christian is wrong. The Christian is claiming that absolutes exist, that gay marriage is absolutely wrong. The relativist finds this position is intolerable – in the traditional sense of refusing to put up with or respect. The Christian belief cannot be permitted, because, if true, it means the relativist’s entire worldview is wrong. What’s ironic is that in calling the Christian belief intolerant, it’s actually the relativist that is intolerant.

The modern definition of intolerance is intolerant of other views, and is inescapably hypocritical. Those who hold to this view of intolerance are unavoidably hypocrites. It is hypocritical to be intolerant of others for their perceived intolerance, yet the modern definition of tolerance forces it.

What the Bible says

Romans chapter 1 gives a very clear description of the consequences of this sort of thinking:

18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

The Bible makes it clear that all people know that absolute truth does exist; but those who reject God suppress the truth. God reveals Himself to everyone, but most people refuse to accept Him, and come up with other philosophies and beliefs to replace the truth.

20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Rejection of God produces futility in thinking. It leads to irrational philosophies like relativism. Any worldview or philosophy apart from the Word of God is foolishness. It leads to belief systems that are completely irrational, yet are clung to by people because they reject the only Truth.

24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie…

This is why, I believe, so many people get upset with Christians like Dan Cathy for saying he supports the “biblical definition of the family unit.” Non-Christians are trying to suppress the truth; Christians who speak out bring the truth back out in the open.

Is God intolerant? Guilty as charged.

The Bible makes it clear that God does not tolerate sin: “For the wages of sin is death…” (Romans 6:23a). The Bible also makes it clear that the ONLY solution for sin is Jesus Christ: “…but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23b). God does not tolerate sin, because sin separates us from Him. God’s love demands that while He cannot tolerate sin, He has provided a way for us to be reconciled to Him: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Because of His holiness, God cannot tolerate sin; but, because of His love, He cannot leave us without a Savior from that sin.

Intolerant Toleration – Part 4 – The Chick-Fil-A Saga

Definition of TOLERATE

2 a : to allow to be or to be done without prohibition, hindrance, or contradiction

b : to put up with

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/tolerate

Definition of INTOLERANT
2 a
: unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters

b
: unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights : bigoted

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/intolerant


Chick-Fil-A president Dan Cathy made the following statement recently in a radio interview on the “Ken Coleman Show:”

“I think we are inviting God’s judgment on our nation when we shake our fist at Him and say ‘we know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage’ and I pray God’s mercy on our generation that has such a prideful, arrogant attitude to think that we have the audacity to define what marriage is about.”

Dan Cathy

The entire interview can be heard here. The quote above is found about 31 minutes into the interview.

First, notice what was not said: Cathy did not say same-gender marriage should be prohibited. He does not say homosexuals cannot work at Chick-Fil-A, nor does he say homosexuals are not welcome at Chick-Fil-A. He does not say homosexual marriage should not be put up with, permitted, or allowed. He says nothing about taking away freedom of expression, or taking away rights.

What does he say? He says he believes God will judge our nation for our pride and arrogance in disregarding what He says about marriage. He also prays for God’s mercy.

By definition, Cathy’s statement was not intolerant.

What have those opposed to Cathy’s statement said?

The mayors of Washington, DC, San Francisco, Boston, and Chicago have all stated that Chick-Fil-A will be prohibited in their cities. DC mayor Vincent Gray called Chick-Fil-A “Hate Chicken.” Mayor Edwin Lee of San Francisco tweeted, “Closest #ChickFilA to San Francisco is 40 miles away & I strongly recommend that they not try to come any closer.”

Philadelphia City Councilman James Kenney told Cathy in a letter to “take a hike and take your intolerance with you. There is no place for this type of hate in our great City of Brotherly and Sisterly Affection.” He plans to introduce a resolution at the next council meeting condemning Chick-Fil-A.

College students are using online petitions to demand the chain is removed from campuses including University of Illinois, Ball State University, College of Charleston, University of Kansas, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Wichita State University, and Minnesota State University.

Websites like boycottchickfila.com have been popping up, along with multiple Facebook pages calling for boycotts and banning Chick-Fil-A.

Who are the intolerant ones? Which group advocates prohibiting opposing views? Which group wants to hinder the other? Which group is “unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters?” Which group is trying to ban the other?

Those who call for boycotts of Chick-Fil-A and the politicians who want to take away Chick-Fil-A’s right to do commerce in their cities are the intolerant ones. It’s one thing to disagree with a position, like Dan Cathy has done. It’s another thing to call for sanctions, boycotts, and legislation against those who disagree with you. In the name of tolerance, people like Vincent Gray, Edwin Lee, and James Kenney spew their intolerance of anyone who disagrees with them.

Intolerant toleration.

Bigoted anti-bigotry.

Hypocrisy.

Again, it’s apparently not intolerance to be intolerant of Christianity.

But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! ~ 2 Timothy 3:1-5